CSA Veggies & Homemade Basil Pesto!


Okay, I readily admit, I do not much care for pesto.

It’s just never float my boat. We’ve bought it before, in a jar, and I’ve eaten it before in restaurants with pasta, but never would I have ever imagined it to taste this good when made at home.

HOLY. COW. Words fail me.

Homemade Almond-Basil Pesto

Today was our very first CSA Veggie Pickup from Noble Gardens at the Hillhurst-Sunnyside Farmer’s Market. An email was sent out this morning reminding everyone to bring reuseable shopping bags, a cooler if it was going to be extremely warm out, and also included a few tips & pointers in regards to what we were getting.

It felt like Halloween, standing there, holding my shopping bag open to see what was being dropped into my bag: head of butterhead lettuce, a small bunch of teeny tiny onions with the greens still attached (either that or it’s just a green onion with a really generous purple bulb at the bottom), and two bags of greens. I think one is a bag of swiss chard with gorgeous red stems and the other bag of greens, well I’m truly embarassed, I just got so excited, I totally blanked out hearing what he was giving me as he was dropping them gently into the bag. All I knew was that I was getting veggies and I was excited. The biggest surprise for me was that we were also given a beautiful basil plant! I have never ever been given a live basil plant before!

I’ve always considered the idea of buying one at the grocery store or at the garden centre, but of course with the recent discovery of my Aero Garden, I’ve not really thought much about it since. Even though I have a small basil growing, it’s never looked as beautiful & lush as the plant Tim gave me this afternoon! That and I’ve never really known what to do with basil or how to get it to bush-out and be prolific. Starting with a super healthy bunch of basil and being given instructions on how to make it bushier was both helpful and an eye-opener.

I have to say, this is an exciting year for us — CSA Veggies AND CSA Farm Fresh Eggs! If our poor little deep freeze hadn’t died, we could have also had bison this year and we would have been totally set to spend very little time grocery shopping for food unless absolutely needed.

Seeing as I am once again all by myslf for dinner (Geez! Two weeks in a row!?) and the lovely basil plant looked like it could use a little pruning, I decided to try my hand at making a kitchen sink basil pesto with a little bit of linguini, and a few slices of garlic bread to go with the few remaining spoonfuls of marinated tomatoes from last night. I have to say, it’s pretty damn tasty compared to anything store-bought, and I am super impressed that it is so easy to make.

I figured since it was just me eating dindin tonight, I would clip off a bunch of the basil tops and stuff it all into my itty bitty mini food processor along with a few other ingredients I managed to find languishing away in the pantry — I am now running on empty with my olive oil stash and I think that tonight’s pesto was the best use of the few remaining dribbles I had left of the wonderful extra virgin olive oil.

Along with the basil, I tossed in two large cloves of garlic, (Sorry Darling, kissing you when you get home tonight will probably be a bit shocking, but it was so totally worth it…) just chopped into a few pieces to help it along in the whizzer, a generous thumb-sized chunk of parmesan cheese also chopped coarsely, a couple pinches of slivered almonds and seasoned it all with a bit of kosher salt and a few grindings of pepper.

It took a few stops & starts to get everything amalgamated, cleaning off the sides with a small spatula and adding extra oil until it came to a consistency I was pleased with — but I still left the pesto on the chunkier side. Interesting side thought: Almonds are a great addition to pesto! I never have pine nuts in the house. In fact, I seem to have this weird mental block towards them for some reason. A long time ago, Mom bought some packaged salad box and you just tossed everything together before serving. Well this boxed mix came with pine nuts, and I had never had them before, so I poped a few in my mouth and they must have gone rancid or something because from that point on, I’ve never willingly eaten pinenuts if I could help it. It was that traumatizing an experience, if you can imagine.

So yea. ALMONDS! Honestly, I probably could have happily eaten the pesto from the bowl of the food processor with nothing but the last of the french bread we’ve got sitting around from the weekend’s bread-purchasing extravaganza. I’m not sure what happened, but I ended up buying a ridiculous amount of bread this weekend for some reason and with the exception of the butter buns The Hubbs had chosen, and the industrial garlic bread that I froze, most of it’s all gone now. French bread, swiped with a glob of homemade pesto? I have to say, it’s petty fantastic, kids!

Eating the pesto with pasta, though.Whoa. I am very aware that I sound like a goof, going on as I do about discovering homemade stuff that I’ve made. Just a small scoop of pesto, hot pasta, a few spoonfuls of pasta water to help it all slick together nicely.. yowza. I really like having that little bit texture from the almonds, when the pesto’s not been completely blitzed to oblivion. Some of it might also be cheese & garlic, but it’s quite pretty to look at!

Recipe.. I don’t really have a recipe for this, unfortunately. Is a recipe really required when you’re cooking just slap-dash for yourself?

Almond-Basil Pesto
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Parmesan Cheese, coarsely chopped
Garlic, coarsely chopped
Slivered Almonds

Smoosh all your ingredients, except the oilve oil, into the bowl of a teeny tiny food processor.
Blitz everything together with a few pulses just to get stuff reduced in volume, then add a small glug of olive oil.
Pulse a couple more times, scraping down sides, adding a bit more oil to moisten.
Pulse again, scrape again and add a smidgen more oil if you think it needs it.
Blitz the pesto until you get a consistency you like and make sure to taste for seasoning.
Store any remaining pesto in a small container, covered with a film of olive oil, a piece of plastic wrap and keep in the fridge.

4 thoughts on “CSA Veggies & Homemade Basil Pesto!

    1. Thanks! I was pretty chuffed about the pesto!
      I tried to add my link to your page, but ran across a problem when I tried to skip the step of tweeting — it sent me to a page that said there was an error, so I don’t know if it went through.

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